Whether she’s belting out a raucous blues-rocker, firing up a blistering soul-shouter, bringing the spirit to a gospel-fueled R&B rave-up or digging deep down into a subtle, country-tinged ballad, Shemekia Copeland sounds like no one else. This month, Shemekia was nominated as the 38th Annual Blues Music Award’s Contemporary Blues Female Artist. Shemekia won that same category in 2016 after the release of Outskirts of Love. Her acclaimed eighth album, released by Alligator Records in September 2015, was also nominated for a Grammy Award.
The Chicago Tribune says Copeland delivers “gale force singing and power” with a “unique, gutsy style, vibrant emotional palette and intuitive grasp of the music.” NPR Music calls her “fiercely expressive.” She has sung with Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Carlos Santana, James Cotton and opened for The Rolling Stones.
Over the past 12 years, Bridget Kearney has toured the world as the bassist of the soul pop sensation Lake Street Dive. An incredibly versatile musician, Kearney has always been voraciously collaborative, dabbling in chamber pop with the Brooklyn group Cuddle Magic, bluegrass with the now defunct Boston outfit Joy Kills Sorrow, and Ghanian music as part of a duo with fellow songwriter Benjamin Lazar Davis. A past winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, this year Kearney steps into the spotlight with her first solo effort, a wry, big-hearted pop album titled Won’t Let You Down, scheduled for release in March.
The T Sisters, born and raised in California and now based in the creative hub of Oakland, embody harmony. It’s in their blood, bones, and history. Erika, Rachel and Chloe have been singing and writing music together since childhood. Their sound represents a continuum of music, from traditional to pop influences, moments of breathtaking a cappella to swells of energetic indie Americana. The T Sisters have appeared at Merlefest, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Music City Roots, and Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, among others.
Stay tuned as more artists will be announced in the coming weeks. Mountain Stage is produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting and distributed by NPR Music. The event will be recorded for broadcast later this year via 200 NPR stations nationwide.